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What Are The Requirements For VA Loan Inspections

By Bill Gassett | March 28, 2023

VA appraisals and VA inspections are often confused, but they are different. A VA appraisal is similar in some ways to the appraisal with a conventional mortgage, but they do more to protect buyers.

We look at a home's requirements when applying for a VA loan. There are VA loan inspection requirements for appraisals that buyers, sellers, and real estate agents should know.

Is a Home Inspection Required When Getting a VA Loan?

The VA doesn't require a home inspection, though they are usually recommended. An appraisal is required to check that the home's value matches the price the buyer is willing to pay.

As well as ensuring that more money isn't being loaned than the home is worth, they also want to know that the home meets the VA’s minimum property requirements.

Condition Requirements VA Loans
What Are The Property Condition Requirements For Homes With VA Loans?

VA Appraisals Compared to Home Inspections

A VA appraisal assesses the fair market value of the home. This ensures the home is worth enough, so the lender does not lose money if the borrower defaults.

As well as assessing the home's value, the appraiser must check that the property is safe, sound, and sanitary.

This means checks are done to ensure that the property will be safe to live in for the veteran and that it is unlikely to need any expensive repairs soon.

The FHA also has similar property condition standards that must be met.

VA Appraisals Compared to Conventional Appraisals

An appraisal for the VA isn't much different from an appraisal with a conventional loan. In both cases, the property will be compared to similar homes sold recently in the same area.

The difference between these appraisals is the VA’s requirement for the home to meet minimum property condition requirements. These minimum property requirements benefit buyers to ensure they aren't buying homes with hidden problems.

Minimum Property Requirements

The Department for Veterans Affairs has minimum property requirements (MPRs) to ensure that veterans aren't buying a home that isn't safe, sound, and without adequate sanitation.

Buyers and sellers should always understand these requirements before putting a house under contract.

Let's look at the MPRs that VA inspectors use to assess the condition of properties:

Available Space

The home must have sufficient room for the family buying the property. This means enough bedrooms, bathrooms, and cooking and dining areas. This doesn't necessarily mean a large home, just one big enough to meet the family's needs.

Encroachments

The home or outbuildings must not encroach on neighboring properties. This means that no part of the home should be built on land, not part of the property.

A property encroachment can stop a sale. There are resolutions that can be made, including clearing up the violation or granting the owner an easement for the encroachment.

Access

The VA inspection will ensure that the home has permanent street access. A permanent easement must be made if it is on a private road.

Hazards

VA loan inspection requirements mean the property cannot be at risk from natural hazards or environmental contamination.

The home cannot be built in a flood zone, and the inspector will check for signs of possible sinkholes. They might also run tests for radon gas, lead-based paints, and asbestos in the home.

Anything that might affect the home's structural soundness or harm people's health will be considered a hazard.

Structure

The home's structure needs to be sound, with a roof that prevents moisture from entering. The roof needs to be good enough to not require replacement for at least 3 years.

Basements and attics should not have mold, mildew, dry rot, or suffer from pest damage or infestations. Accessing these parts of the home should also be easy, and they need adequate ventilation.

Water Supply and Sanitation

The home must have continuous access to safe drinking water for all uses. There must be hot water and sanitary facilities for all family members. Sewage must be safely disposed of.

If a well services the home, it must be inspected. The VA wants to ensure the quality of the water is adequate.

Drainage

There should not be any pooling of water around the foundations. If there isn't suitable drainage on the site, the appraiser will report this problem.

No Peeling Paint

One of the most common problems with VA condition requirements is peeling paint. The VA will not accept homes with flaking or peeling paint built before 1978.

Either the buyer or seller will need to address the paint.

Utilities

The home needs to have adequate access to electric and gas supply, as well as functioning HVAC systems.

Pools

Homes with swimming pools can be financed using VA loans, but they must be in good working order. If the pool presents a hazard or defects, it could risk the home meeting the minimum property requirements.

When Issues Are Discovered, The VA Appraiser Will Re-inspect

When the VA appraiser flags issues, they will be asked to return for a re-inspection when the problems have been corrected.

They will then report back to the mortgage lender verifying the same. Closing will not be able to take place without the completion of the flagged items.

Sellers cannot offer concessions with these loans to make the problem disappear.

Final Thoughts on Condition Requirements With VA Loans

VA loans are excellent for those who have served our country. While they are a bit more strict than conventional loans, most requirements are not cumbersome.

However, it is essential to realize that when an owner is selling as-is, it will be the buyer's responsibility to address any issues that have been flagged.

All the parties should be on the same page about this before a contract is accepted.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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